KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) THOUGHTS ON CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY "We won the race last year so it's something to look forward to. It is the same car that we had in Michigan. We've just been off on it a bit this year. The...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
THOUGHTS ON CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY
"We won the race last year so it's something to look forward to. It is the same car that we had in Michigan. We've just been off on it a bit this year. The guys have been working hard and Kenny (Francis, team director) comes up with ideas every week. We'll see how it goes. I think it's going to be better than what we were in Michigan for sure. We've learned some things since then. How good, I'm not sure yet. We're just going to find out as we go."
ON FINISHING SECOND AT BRISTOL
"Yeah I was real happy with our performance last weekend. The guys did a great job and it was fun to drive a fast car again. Everything was right, pit stops, the car handled great. We got behind a little bit there. We just didn't keep up with the car late in the race. The first 300, 350 laps we were definitely the car to beat. At the end we were a really good second place car. So I was real happy with the weekend, it went really well."
ON KASEY KAHNE FOUNDATION RACE
"Tomorrow night we're going to do the second annual Kasey Kahne Foundation race at Skagit Speedway. Tony Stewart is out here. We flew out together, to come out and do this race. It's going to be a good deal, a neat race. A lot of the Washington sprint car fans go to that and even some of the NASCAR fans. It's pretty cool. We raise all the money and all the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House so it's for a good cause."
ON MOMENTUM AFTER SUCH A STRONG RUN
"I think it lasts a while. I think it definitely lasts to California. You just don't realize until you have a bunch of bad races how hard it is to get momentum and confidence and things. Then all you have to do is have one really strong weekend when we won the Busch race and then to run up front in the Cup race. That quickly you can feel good about your season again and feel good about what you're doing and the progress that the team is making."
ON GETTING STRONG FINISHES
"You just need everything to work together. Preparation is key. We've been preparing just like we did last year, this year and working really hard to do some of the same things. The way the cars have handled that's just the way it has been. We've just missed it in some of those areas. Preparation has definitely been good all season long. It was good at Bristol and it showed."
ON DIRT RACING
"I think it depends who you are and what you want to do with it. I really like to do about seven to 10 races a year. At the start of when I was in NASCAR I was doing 15 to 20 and then I factored down to about three or four. Now I feel like I can do seven or 10 and not have an affect on the NASCAR side of things, in any way. I like doing that and I think there are a lot of guys, who once they go and do it, then they realize how fun it is to race and not have all the pressure on you. Just race for fun and excitement and things, like you used to. It's just something we like to do. I think you'll see more and more of that for a while."
ON THE RECENT TREND OF NASCAR DRIVERS RUNNING DIRT
"I don't know why that is. Tony (Stewart) has always done it. Kenny Schrader has always done it. I've always done it. I came into the sport a little behind them but I've done it since I came in. Now you're starting to see more guys. Even Bobby Labonte does it. He has his own team. Kevin Harvick. Clint Bowyer has always been a big dirt guy to go and race. Carl Edwards. Like I said I think once you do it a couple of times you realize how fun it is to race hard and not have to have all the pressure."
ON CONFIDENCE AFTER A GOOD RUN
"I think it helps. You have one really good race and it quickly turns around people's attitudes and confidence. Hopefully with the way things went this weekend California will be another good race for us.
"It's just been rough to go into a season with a lot of expectations coming off a great season. And going through the Chase with a top-three car. Between the engine and driver mistakes we finished lower in points. As far as the car's speed, it was as good as anything in there including Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. You come off of that and you feel like you have another great shot the following year. And you don't. Things slow down. It's been frustrating. It's been upsetting. At the same time, none of us have blamed it on each other. I really like the team I have. I really like Kenny Francis (team director). At times there's been talk about, do we need to do something different? I've said the whole time that we're fine. It's just what's going on right now. They're working on it, to fix it. When they do we will be a Championship contending team again."
ON WHY HE RAN SO WELL AT BRISTOL
"The track. The track was really different. It suits my driving style a certain bit. Also the cars were better. They have been working a lot on the COT car. We haven't been racing it much and they've been working on it. Our Busch car has been hit or miss all year. We won Charlotte. We won an aero sensitive race track. Then we've run terrible at tracks just like it. The Cup car we've been working hard to get the COT better. The guys did a really good job and our weekend just went perfect for us."
ON WHAT HE HAS BEEN DOING AT HOME IN WASHINGTON
"I've just been staying at home. I have been to some dirt track races already. The Outlaws (World of Outlaws) were in town. I have seen a few people and everyone that I've seen is pretty excited about Friday and Saturday night. So it is nice to have a good race before you come back (home) and run into people you know."
ON HIS POPULARITY
"I think you have more people looking at you. It's just the way it is. You walk around and when you're in places, people know NASCAR or people know who you are because that's where you're from. You just have more of them look at you and say 'hi'. It's not a bad thing. I like it. There is just more of it then it used to be."
ON RELATIONSHIP WITH DODGE
"Ever since I've been a part of Dodge, Chrysler and Mopar it's been good. We've had a great relationship. We have won races together and I've had a ton of fun with some of the people that work at Dodge and Chrysler. With Mopar, I have a great relationship with them with my World of Outlaws Sprint Car teams and my USAC teams. We have the best Mopar engines in the business. It's been a blast to work with them. All that stuff has been good. You have a disappointing year, like this year and everyone is still behind you. I feel like it's just right around the corner before everybody is going to be excited and pumped up again because we're running well. I don't feel like anyone has counted us out especially the Dodge people. I feel like we're still a big part of that team and everyone is excited and happy for us. I just want to perform for them."
ON FAN SUPPORT
"I've seen it all year long. Things have been tough on the track and still, everywhere we go we have just as many fans. I have just as many people asking for a picture or an autograph or telling me that everything will be fine, you'll win races. It's a little crazy how they will stick with you even when you don't have a good season. The fans out there stick with you no matter what. Once they're behind you, they're behind you and it's pretty cool."
ON HIS RACING HEROS
"I don't know if I really have one. I have always had a lot of guys that I really liked. From people that drove my Dad's sprint car when I was 10 years old until I was just about in the Cup Series. I was really a big fan of Jeff Gordon's when I was coming up through the sprint car ranks. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart just because of the way they got to where they're at and the types of cars they races. But as far as a hero, I don't know if I have one."
ON FAVORITE DODGE
"I have a Dodge Durango and I have a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup that we lowered and put some nice wheels on. It's more of our shop truck. We run around Mooresville and up to Indianapolis for the sprint car teams. It gets it done for us. The Durango is the car we drive a lot."
-credit: dodge motorsports